Bubba Made a New Blog.
She was always my favorite teacher. How did you find that photo?
You sent it to me one night when you were drunk. :)
She looks sort of like a 10-years-younger-than-when-I-had-her version of one of my favorite teachers, too -- and, though I could never have imagined such a thing when I was in 5th grade, I can now pretty easily imagine her thinking just that (or something pretty close; "fucking" wasn't really a common obscenity among the adults among whom I grew up, so it probably would have been plain old "damn").
I don't see a lot of run-on sentences these days. I did have one student last term whose favorite word seemed to be "and," but that's rare. Run-on paragraphs, however, are extremely common. I don't know whether it's a side effect of typing on relatively small screens, or never seeing a proper academic paragraph (since textbooks now seem to be a combination of newspaper-length paragraphs, bulleted lists, and ever-proliferating sidebars, graphics, etc.), or believing that all essays (even 10-page ones) have five paragraphs, but I regularly see paragraphs that go on for two pages or more. And, like the run-on sentences of old, they usually have logical dividing points, and sometimes even transition words, present. Still, students these days seem extraordinarily reluctant to press the "enter" key, at least while writing long-form prose.
They're also pretty bad when it comes to pressing "send". Unless it's to whinge, of course.
OMG! I see run-on sentences in at least 40% of the first year papers I see. And I am lowballing that probably if I count drafts.
By "run-on," I mean a fused sentence or a sentence with a comma splice. Using that definition, I'm besieged by them. As far as long sentences go, I'm not bothered per se, but I do find many hopelessly long ones tangled in syntax and logic. The mixed construction really highlights problems in reasoning and using language to make a direct,clear point.
I definitely see a good many comma splices, and at least as many sentences that begin using one syntactical pattern, and end using another, incompatible one. This is especially true when students are trying to work in a signal phrase for a citation ("According to Smith (2005) argues. . ."). That's somewhat understandable, since learning how to work citations into the text gracefully and effectively (rather than just peppering the end of every sentence, plus a few middles, with parenthetical citations to avoid getting in trouble over plagiarism) is one of the foci of the course. I'm also seeing a good many sentence fragments, especially subordinate clauses unattached to a main clause ("Although Smith argues that pigs can fly. This is not in fact the case unless they are crated and loaded on an airplane.") I remain convinced that the main problem is that student simply haven't read enough relatively sophisticated, complex prose, and so haven't internalized the models. Students who have deliberately studied the English language as a language (usually a 2nd or 3rd one) often have a better grasp on sentence structure, even if they have problems with shorter syntactic units involving choices of prepositions, when to use an article, etc.)
Comma splices followed immediately by a sentence fragment. It's beastly trying to get them to figure it out.
That will be my face in a couple of weeks. Girding loins, folks. Girding loins.
Try gilding loins.
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